Cardio exercises focus on heart health while weightlifting programs aim to build lean muscles. Both workouts are great, especially combined.
If you’re hoping to lose weight, build muscle, or just generally feel better about yourself, knowing how to do it can be a challenge.
There are so many different types of exercise to choose from, and whether you’re a beginner just starting out or an experienced fitness enthusiast who’s hoping to switch up your routine, there’s a lot to think about.
In particular, one of the age-old questions is whether cardio or weightlifting is better for you in terms of fitness and seeing results.
So, to help you understand these two types of exercises and their benefits, we asked specialists from Wellbeing365 for a quick comparison. Here’s their handy guide to cardio and weightlifting.
Understanding Cardio And Weightlifting
Cardiovascular exercise involves the likes of running, walking, swimming, or cycling, amongst other examples. Its purpose is to improve your cardiovascular health, which refers to your heart.
Over time, cardiovascular exercise can help your heart to work more efficiently under pressure.
On the other hand, the other main type of exercise is resistance training. This involves anything that requires you to work against resistance to build strength, which includes lifting weights.
Both can have their own advantages, and it’s important to understand them before you embark on your fitness journey!
The Benefits Of Cardio Exercise
Cardio exercise can be very effective if you’re hoping to get moving and stay active throughout your week. From hiking to swimming, if it gets your heart rate up, it’s working!
1. Improves Heart Health
First and foremost, cardio can improve your heart health. Regular cardio exercise can help your heart to achieve better blood flow, which could, in turn, reduce your risk of heart disease or a heart attack.
2. Oxygenates Blood
This type of exercise is great for helping your heart to pump oxygen more efficiently around the body.
3. Regulates Blood Pressure Levels
Due to better heart health, cardio can also help you to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Aerobic exercises such as jogging and swimming can help your blood vessels the most, without putting too much strain on your heart itself.
4. Burns Fat
Cardio is effective at helping with fat loss. This is because cardiovascular exercise burns more calories minute-for-minute than weight training, thanks to the continuous nature of its intensity.
There are two types of cardio exercises:
LISS is great for beginners or those who have large weight loss goals, while HIIT is perfect for retaining muscle and burning fat efficiently.
The Benefits Of Lifting Weights
Many people can be put off lifting weights because they are only strong enough to lift light weights, which can leave them feeling self-conscious in the gym.
The important thing to remember about weightlifting is that it’s not about how heavy you can lift, but more about getting your form correct and feeling some resistance.
1. Aids Muscle Building
Lifting weights can help to build muscle, as it places more resistance on your muscles. Essentially, weightlifting breaks down the tissue in your muscles, triggering them to heal and grow in the process. This is known as hypertrophy.
2. Burns Calories
Just like cardio, weightlifting can also help fat loss. Through weight training, you will gradually increase your lean muscle mass which can lead to a higher metabolic rate. This means you’re able to burn more calories.
Weightlifting often helps you to burn more calories throughout the day, even after training.
3. Increases Bone Density
Lifting weights could actually protect your bones too. Any weight-bearing exercises can put stress on your bones which can increase bone density.
This can play a role in slowing down bone loss and preventing the risk of fractures in the future.
4. Helps Sleep Better
Weightlifting is also beneficial for helping you sleep. Weight training physically tires out your body and muscles and causes a drop in the stress hormone known as cortisol, which helps you maintain a better night’s sleep.
Is One Better Than The Other?
No matter your fitness or weight loss goals, it’s important to include a bit of everything in your exercise routine. A combination of both cardio and weightlifting can help you to lose weight while sculpting muscle.
The most important thing to remember on your fitness journey is consistency.